Nick reveals what LeBron James’ ejection truly signifies about the way The King is officiated
Reacting to LeBron James' ejection in the Cleveland Cavaliers' win over the Miami Heat, Nick Wright discusses with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe The King's ejection, unearthing statistical evidence that proves LeBron is officiated differently than other players.
- And so I'm watching, and I'm like, OK. What could LeBron have done? And I know, having watched LeBron his whole career, I'm like all right. I know he didn't get in a fight. Like that's not on the board, that LeBron threw a punch. I know he didn't throw a mouthpiece at a ref. That's not on the board for LeBron. I knew he didn't get two technicals, because LeBron is very careful. Once he gets his first technical, he's not saying anything.
So I assumed what happened was something like this, where he bumps the official. Where he gets really upset, Goes over to the official, accidentally bumps him. You're auto out. And when I saw it in real time, I figured that's exactly what happened. That he ran over, made contact, and you're gone.
But then, when I saw that he didn't make contact, and then I saw the ref after the game, when he's asked about it. The ref was clear. He got thrown out on the first T. One technical. And his justification was, "He threw an air punch directly at me." Threw an air punch? What do these, ninja stars?
- Show me an air punch.
- I mean, I don't need to show you in air punch. Kane Fitzgerald says we're seeing it in the video. He says, "He then aggressively charged at me." What are we, in Madrid? That someone aggressively charged at me. "And then used vulgarity in my ear." that touches on what CC's discussing, which is-- now Kane, after the game, didn't say he said something you can't say. He said it was a combination of the air punch, those devastating air punches, charging at him, and the vulgarity in his ear.
The reality is, listen. LeBron had gone 1,100 and some games without being, 1,299 games without being ejected. He finally has been ejected. That's, to me, not as big of a deal as what LeBron's talking about. And what LeBron's talking about, CC? He's right. He's damaging 5.4 free throws this year. Not only is that a career low. Not only is that the first time since his rookie year, he's not averaging at least 6 and 1/2 free throws a game. But it's not because his game has changed.
We've talked about his jump shot getting better. LeBron is second in the league in shots within three feet of the basket. Second in the league in points in the paint. The guy is behind Giannis, is averaging almost nine free throws a game. LeBron is the second in the league in points in the paint and 20th in the league in free throw attempts?
Like, LeBron is correct that he is officiated unfairly. I know we focus on that he gets away with travels, as he and James Harden, and a lot of superstars do. But he is also dealing with some of the Shaq rules, that he's dealt with his whole career. This year, it's actually affecting his ability to get to the line. So I don't blame him for being frustrated about it.